LeapFrog Explorer Learning Game: Globe: Earth Adventures

Game review by
Christy Matte, Common Sense Media
LeapFrog Explorer Learning Game: Globe: Earth Adventures Game Poster Image
Whirlwind global trip provides fun glimpse of the world.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Educational Value

Kids can learn more about maps and navigation, in particular the use of the compass rose to find direction. They also can gain a greater understanding of overall world geography. There are some charting exercises and puzzles that will challenge their logical-reasoning skills and some activities involving flora, fauna, and geology. Kids also will find some social studies quizzes. LeapFrog Explorer Learning Game: Globe: Earth Adventures offers a whirlwind trip around the world during which kids solve puzzles and complete learning activities.

Positive Messages

The game emphasizes learning more about the world, but the focus is on helping people and animals in various locations.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The characters are positive and encouraging but fairly neutral otherwise. 

Ease of Play

Everything is fairly straightforward, and help is always available. Much of the game is spent flying a plane around and trying to avoid clouds. As the difficulty increases, some kids may struggle to avoid the clouds. They simply lose coins if they hit them, but kids may still be frustrated.

Violence & Scariness
Language
Consumerism

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that LeapFrog Explorer Learning Game: Globe: Earth Adventures presents a way for kids to fly around the world (virtually, of course) putting out bush fires, delivering doggie treats to Iditarod races, and generally being helpful. The activities are almost all timed, which might cause a particular challenge for younger kids.

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What's it about?

In LEAPFROG EXPLORER LEARNING SOFTWARE: GLOBE: EARTH ADVENTURES, kids join Sara, Reggie, and Compass Rose on more than 20 missions around the world. During each mission, kids will need to fly a plane to different locations with help given by Compass Rose. They have to avoid clouds, and they can collect coins along the way. The plane doesn't always stop at a location; sometimes it only drops off supplies. If the plane stops, kids will play a mini-game. Some of the mini-games are quizzes: match the flag to the country, for example, or find three creatures that live in the sea. Some give kids a grid and ask them to find a location (such as "D-4"). Another requires filling in a road map with missing pieces that may need to be rotated into place. There also are other special games, such as the Balloon Derby, wherein kids fly around collecting all the balloons. Successfully completing missions earns kids Explorer Points (aka coins). Kids also earn Adventure Badges, which are snapshots from each location. They can learn more through the open-ended Explore option (get information on kids, animals, music, geographical highlights, landmarks, and more), or they can take on timed Challenges wherein they may need to find five landmarks or answer other questions about a region.

Is it any good?

Kids likely will enjoy LeapFrog Explorer Learning Game: Globe: Earth Adventures, especially if they're interested in maps and learning about different places. It's a wonderful opportunity to practice finding locations and navigating with directions. The grid activity that asks kids to find "C-4" (column C, row 4) or a similar location serves as an excellent introduction to reading a street map. Other games provide workouts in logical reasoning.

There are a few problem areas. In the quizzes, they're tested on information they may not have been given. Worse, they may not even know what items they're matching. For example, one quiz asks kids to match animals to their habitats, but they're never given the names of the animals (many of which will not be familiar) or the types of habitats (loosely represented in cartoon form on the map). Even if they can complete the map correctly within the time limit, they aren't learning anything about the animals, the habitats, or the country. This may be avoided by having kids use the Explore area before doing missions, but that isn't a guarantee. The Adventure Badges miss their potential as well. A badge of the Iditarod could tell kids a bit more about the race or the dogs. Instead, it only reminds them that they dropped off food for the animals. Even with these few annoyances, there's a lot of learning to be had, especially if kids focus on exploring and doing some of the Challenges.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Pull out an atlas (or download an app) and find interesting locations. Talk about the compass rose and directions.

  • Talk about being a global citizen. What can your family do to support causes around the globe?

  • Choose a few missions and find out more about the topic (such as the Iditarod). 

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For kids who love learning about the world

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